Celebrating the Power of Philanthropy

Posted on Friday, November 17, 2017

by Gayle Guynup for heraldtribune.com

Sarasota’s philanthropic community came out in full force – with nearly 400 guests – at the Association of Fundraising Professionals National Philanthropy Day Luncheon at Michael’s on East.

Among those seen were Jean Weidner Goldstein, Tom Tryon, Kim Noyes, Judy Bell, Robyn Faucy, Rose Chapman, Charlie Huisking, Eleanor Merritt-Darlington, Chris Pfahler, Philip Tavill, Cathy Layton, Sue Jacobson, Steven High, Michael Crosby, Jennifer Rominiecki, Margaret Wise, Geri Jo Manson, Ann Logan, Terry Marks, Peggy and Ken Abt, Brynne Anne Besio, Jeanie Kirkpatrick, Iris Starr, Bob Rosinsky, Mary Beth Bos and Anna Von Gehr.

Co-chairs Declan Sheehy and Kathy Jordan and AFP chapter president Martha Wells welcomed guests, noting that this year’s event was a celebration of the depth of philanthropy on the Gulf Coast as well as the breadth of this community’s giving spirit.

Following lunch, this year’s Philanthropy Day honorees were recognized, including: Gerri Aaron, Ali Bahaj, Marilyn Bezner, Taber and Celeste Chadwick, Evan T. Collinsworth Jr., Eleanor Merritt Darlington, Les Fishman, Gene Fogarty, Larry and Jennifer Fox, Sharon and Herman Frankel, Richard “Rick” Gans, Alfred E. Goldstein, Jean Weidner Goldstein, Drs. Patricia and Robert Gussin, Mattison and Emma Harllee and Hayes and Janie Chatham, Larry and Debbie Haspel, Paul Hoenle, Charlie Huisking, Jeff Jackson, Sue Jacobson, Karen Koblenz, Phil and Nancy Kotler, Warren and Margot Coville, Elena McCormack, John McIntyre and MES General Contractors, Joe McKenna, John and Mary Ann Meyer, Joseph and Barbara Najmy, Sies Ravestijn, Sam and Norma Savin, Felice Schulaner and Dennis Rees, Charles Slater, Barry and Phil Starr and Lois Stulberg.

Following the awards, Diane McFarlin, former publisher of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and, now dean of the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications, one of the top 10 journalism schools in the country, took center stage.

“This is such a special day for me,” she began, noting that it was great to be back in her home community. “Debra Jacobs once told me that everyone can be a philanthropist,” she said, whether you give 50 cents, $50,000, or a few hours of your time. She explained that the seeds of her philanthropy were planted by her grandmother, who would take Diane with her when she went to deliver food, hand-me-down clothes and toys to those in need. “You get such a rush of genuine rush of joy you help others,” she said.

McFarlin started Season of Sharing along with the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, raising millions of dollars to help families on the verge of homelessness stay in their homes. Today, at the University of Florida she is still involved in raising philanthropic funds, and is currently in the midst of a $3 billion capital campaign, toward which she has signed on to raise $40 million.

She wend on to stress the importance of partnerships and collaboration when it comes to philanthropy. “Partnerships are what powered Season of Sharing,” she said, adding that it is imporant to collaborate, not only with others within your own organization, but also with those in your community with whom you share common goals. That’s what drove Season of Sharing from raising $150,000 a year to more than $2 million a year, she said.

Philanthroopy Day Luncheon

  1. Declan Sheehy, Diane McFarlin and Kathy Jordan.
  2. Peggy and Ken Abt.
  3. Lori Merritt and Eleanor Merritt-Darlington.
  4. Aida Matic, Joan Paru and Denise Pope.
  5. Samantha Kingsley and Kristen Theisen.
  6. Beverly Koski and Linda DiGabriele.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROD MILLINGTON